Labour accuses PM of abandoning promise to patients by failing to implement NHS reform

Health spokesman Andy Burnham promises to 'force a Commons debate' over the absence of a Bill from the Government's last legislative programme
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Indy Lifestyle Online

David Cameron will face criticism in Parliament tomorrow for failing to honour his promise of major reform in the wake of the Mid-Staffordshire patient neglect scandal.

Labour's health spokesman, Andy Burnham, last night accused the Government of a "vow of silence" on the NHS, after failing to include any health legislation in last week's Queen's Speech. Labour, in the debate tomorrow, has dedicated the entire day to the NHS.

The major omission from the last legislative programme ahead of next year's general election was a Health and Social Care Professionals Bill. This would have halved the 18 months it normally takes to investigate cases of nurses who are subject to public complaints.

The Bill was one of the main recommendations in an inquiry into the Mid-Staffs scandal of 2005 and 2009, which saw hundreds of patients mistreated. Last year, Mr Cameron vowed to get the Bill on the statute books, but did not even submit a draft version for debate last week.

Mr Burnham said he will "force a Commons debate" on the Bill's absence tomorrow and has accused the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, of leaving regulators "in the lurch".

Jackie Smith, Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive, has demanded the main parties include a commitment to introduce the Bill in the first year of the next government. She said: "This is a big blow to the public."